Public Speaking – the Horror!

In today’s day and age – Public Speaking is equivalent to breathing.

An utmost important competency in today’s business is Public Speaking. With businesses and communications going global, if you cannot speak in front of people or to people, you are doomed. Articulate writing is important too, but you and I both know how important is a pep talk, sales pitch, dialogue delivery, basically to hold somebody’s attention. There is a stark difference between ranting and orating. No email can match a well delivered speech.

Warren Buffet has only one degree framed in his office and it is not his university degree. It is his degree in communications and public speaking from Dale Carnegie. Buffet realized the importance of this competency in the 40’s. Today it has become even more important as businesses are getting globalized and communication oriented.

I am part of the global business community too, in a career that needs me to face clients, pitch proposals, talk to team members, groom, help, praise, advise among other things. Factors that help me to hone my skills are reading, listening and watching experts behave.

Today, it pays off to be observant. Observe and implement.

I came across a TED talk delivered by a gentleman named Julian Treasure, he talked about the HAIL concept. This idea intrigued me to the point to pen down my experience and his ideas in amalgamation.

Treasure recommends one to follow HAIL

H – Honesty

A – Authority

I – Integrity

L – Love

Nervousness is normal. Knowing your audience is key, the talk/speech/workshop is about them. You can’t be fumbling through material in the middle of a speech. What always helps me is to gauge the audience, react to how they react, adapt to it. Engaging with the audience is a brilliant tip to breathe and calm ones nerves.

The noteworthy point here is, don’t simply fumble and whimper your way into talks. Stand up straight and mean what you want to say. Talk soft but with authority, one need not shout out, microphones have been invented. You must genuinely feel for the topic you are talking about. Business is tricky and you can’t show all your cards always. Don’t outright deceive somebody, diplomacy goes a long way. I have a tendency of speaking fast when I am nervous, so fast that I end up being out of breath. That’s no way to talk, talking slower will help audience to register your words.

There are seven sins of speaking:

  • Gossip
  • Judging
  • Negativity
  • Complaining
  • Excuses
  • Lying
  • Dogmatism

Politics is part of our life, be it in personal or professional life. Staying away from politics sometimes is not the best idea because it gives information, vital information to know what is going on around you. However, your decision to involve and contribute to it, is what shows your character. You should not be bad mouthing anybody at any point in time. If people gossip in front of you, they will gossip behind your back too. Negativity has not solved any problems. I enjoy watching Barack Obama make a speech. He has poise, charm, wit and confidence. He may fumble or not deliver a sentence to its true form, no body cares of that (except his detractors maybe). His connection to the audience is enigma on its own.

Cursing has become so common these days that valid words have been replaced with curse words. There are millions of words in the dictionary, but out come the curses. It is neither cool nor hip. Well-spoken people are remembered and they go a long way.

My tip, be articulate, be polite and you will win deals and people’s hearts, all the way through.

P.S. it helps to be funny!



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